The following circular has been issued by POTRAZ [the Postal and Telecommunications Regulation Authority of Zimbabwe]. Comments on the draft Bill and Consultative Document referred to [see below to download] may be submitted electronically to Act@potraz.gov.zw and copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. PLEASE NOTE THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS : 10TH APRIL 2018
REGULATORY CIRCULAR NUMBER 1 OF 2018
16 MARCH 2018
REGULATORY CIRCULAR ON REVIEW OF THE POSTAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT [CHAPTER 12:05]
We advise that we have come up with a draft Bill to repeal the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05] which was promulgated in the year 2000. This is because technology and services have evolved at a rapid rate thereby creating regulatory gaps. It is against this background we, in consultation with the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security are reviewing the Act. The main objective of the review process is to ensure that the country has an effective regulatory framework for the postal and telecommunications sector that meets the future needs of consumers and businesses and facilitates economic growth.
The proposed amendments seek to establish a new regulatory framework that will:
- streamline regulatory processes to enable a rapid response to any technological changes and consumer needs.
- strengthen regulatory oversight on competition issues.
- Include comprehensive provisions on addressing consumer complaints.
- Facilitate the effective planning, management and allocation of scarce resources.
- Repeal obsolete provisions and upgrade organisational references where necessary.
As a key stakeholder in the process of developing this important piece of legislation, we hereby invite your comments and inputs on the proposed amendments by the 10™ of April 2018. To enable you to make your contributions, find attached hereto, the draft Amendment Bill and summary of proposed amendments.
We look forward to your valued comments and inputs on or before the 10th of April 2018.
EXTRACT FROM CONSULTATIVE PAPER [SUMMARY OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS]
Pursuant to the Postal and Telecommunications Act Cap 12:05, (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’), The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (hereinafter referred to as ‘POTRAZ’ or ‘the Authority’) has a mandate to regulate the Postal and Telecommunications sector in Zimbabwe. In order to involve the public in the decision-making process in line with the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe, POTRAZ has prepared this public consultative document to solicit opinions of the stakeholders on the proposed amendments to the Act.
This Consultative Paper outlines the key areas that POTRAZ has identified and proposed for amendment, the rationale for the proposed amendment, and the procedures and timeframe for players in the industry in particular, and the public in general, to submit their views and comments.
- The regulatory framework empowers POTRAZ to grant licenses, issue directions, determinations and the standards of performance in connection with the operation and provision of telecommunication services, among other functions.
- The current Act was promulgated in 2000 and has not been comprehensively amended to take into account technological and market developments since then, hence the need to re-vamp the Act. The main objective of this review process is to ensure that the legislative framework remains relevant and flexible enough to deal with the fast changing postal and telecommunications landscape.
- POTRAZ seeks to minimize barriers to entry to enable consumers and businesses to fully reap the benefits of competition. Elaborate provisions are therefore being proposed to deal with competition issues.
- Technological changes in the postal and telecommunications sector have posed challenges to the current licensing, regulation and enforcement provisions, resulting in some of the provisions becoming inadequate or obsolete in terms of dealing with some aspects of licensing and regulation. The proposed amendments will enable the Authority to effectively regulate the sector in accordance with market and technological trends.
- In this review, POTRAZ recognises that consumer and business’ reliance on telecommunication services has increased significantly over the past few years. As a result, demands and expectations for reliable and better quality telecommunication services have gone up. The proposed amendments seek to put in place a suite of consumer protection measures to safeguard consumer interests through a dedicated platform.
- More importantly, the proposed amendments are in line with the thrust of the National Information Communication Technology (ICT) Policy, which seeks to create an enabling policy and regulatory environment for the growth of the ICT sector in order to enable national socio-economic transformation. The review will align the Act with the objectives of the policy framework. The ICT policy also recognises the challenges brought about by technology and the need to develop effective frameworks for dealing with abuse of postal and telecommunication networks.
- There are also several obsolete provisions and some which need alignment with the Constitution and other statutes, which this review process seeks to address.